Post # 1
DH and I are TTC and are very excited. Both of out parents know it’s in the works, and are of course also very excited. It would be my parents first grandbaby, but my parents aren’t really “spoilers”. They certainly will give gifts and give lots of love, but don’t have much of a tolerance for spoiled brats. I’ve spoken with them about it before, and both agree that when there are grandchildren, they won’t go overboard, cuz they know it’ll make DH and I uncomfortable.
The issue is DH’s parents. They have a grandbaby, he’s almost 4, and while his mother (SIL) spoils him, the grandparents take the cake! They will buy him anything, and give him anything he wants. Now, I know that grandparent’s “jobs” are to spoil their kid, but they go seriously overboard. It’s affected his development in things that he should know better by now.
I would talk to his parents about it (in regards to our theoretical child,) but I’m worried about their reaction. MIL especially reacts to things really childishly. When we all were at an airport, Damien (the 3, almost 4 year old) was sitting on DH’s lap watching him play a hand held video game. He had just eaten and suddenly sneezed, sending a spray of food and snot every where. DH and I of course got a little frustrated (but not angry), and SIL was like “he doesn’t know any better!” I’m sorry but I’ve known 2 year olds who know to cover their mouths when coughing and sneezing. I muttered something like “then teach him”, to myself, and MIL yells (i’m not exaggerating) “REALLY!!!?”
So yeah, reactions tend to be overboard with that family. How would you approach the topic of “over spoiling” a child? I want them to be able to watch it if need be and such, but not at the extent of bad habits being taught. What would you do? btw, DH is with me on this issue, he knows his family’s behavior isn’t exactly ideal, so it’s not just me.
Post # 3
Bumping to follow. I’m pregnant now and really afraid of my DH’s parents spoiling the crap out of our baby. I don’t want to have to compete with them at Christmas time. I believe in simplicity and my DH’s parents go overboard with EVERYTHING. I don’t want me kids only looking forward to Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa’s.
Post # 4
- Wedding: September 2014 - Turf Valley
If you said something under your breath I would take it offensively too because it comes across as disrespectful. I hate passive aggressive people. I think her yelling “REALLY?!?!” was extreme, but I would have said something to you too.
I wouldn’t approach this subject with them until they start demonstrating behaviors with your child that you do not like. At that point, I would have FI (I would also be there) speak to MIL and say something like, “We really appreciate everything you’re doing for Baby, but we don’t want him to end up too spoiled!” If she doesn’t get the hint then you can approach it again later.
Post # 5
Sometimes kids forget to cover when they sneeze–especially when they’re distracted by video games!
I wouldn’t say anything to them until you have an actual bun in the oven.
Post # 6
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@GooteyBootey: Be a good parent and limit their time with the grandparents. I also don’t think there is anything wrong with accepting gifts and then donating them to charity if there are too many of them; definitely warn grandma and grandpa ahead of time though so hopefully they will reign it in. My husband and I are both only children and our child will most likely be an only child with 3 sets of grandparents so we are not looking forward to the amount of spoiling and gifting that is coming our child’s way.
Post # 7
FI and I are in the same boat as you with his Little girl. His parents over spoil to no end. We used to have an issue where his mom would literally drop off bags full of new clothing for her WEEKLY.
the. Also have a tendency to over-baby her. things like not enforcing the table manners when they have her for dinner, or giving FI the death glare when he parents his daughte. At the dinner table When we are all together.
It got to the point were our little 6 year old would knowingly manipulate her grandparents only to come home and try and laugh about it to us. She “fake cries” and LOVES how everyone runs to her side when we are at geandma’s.
Anyway, only solution is to put your foot down. It causes friction, the over-spoilers will think you are being horrible, but so be it. we started showing FIs mom the bags of never worn clotjing we threw away when the little one grew out of the sizes.
and my FI set in place a policy for his parents of if they can’t follow the rules with his daughter, they don’t get to see her.
he had to be a jerk for a few months, but it worked for us
Post # 8
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
I’m just going to say… good luck with that. I have yet to see myself or any of my friends effectively manage to reign in a spoiling grandparent. I’ve learned through the years that it’s not worth the fight. Yes, my parents spoil the hell out of DS. But he spends far more time with us than he does with them, and it’s our lessons that sink in.
Post # 9
@GooteyBootey: I am 24+6 right now and KNOW that my IL will spoil the daylights out of our baby. Another slight concern I have is that DH’s parents are very well off and my mom is average but also a Jehovah’s Witness & doesn’t celebrate holidays. I don’t want our baby to grow up favoring one set of grandparents because of materialistic things so I feel as though its our responsiblity as parents to raise a grateful, non bratty, humble child. I know that we as mom and dad will be the major influence in our daughters life & its our responsiblity to teach her these things. Even if she is with DH’s parents on occasion she’ll know the proper way to act because that’s what she’ll have been taught at home. When it comes to holidays and stuff you can’t set limits on peoples generosity but if they do ask what the child needs i think it’d be perfectly okay to say “money in their college fund” or similar suggestions on useful things.
Post # 10
@GooteyBootey: I think you’re putting the cart before the horse here, and its not something worth worrying over, because Grandparent time is limited, and the more grandkids there are, the thinner they’re spread. So when they do see them, they want to make the most of it, that’s the priviledge of being one.
PLUS, the kid they’re spoiling the shit out of is the child of MIL’s daughter, yes? Thats a whole different ball of wax, she won’t feel so free when it comes to your child as say, your mother might…it’s a relationship dynamic.
Any discussions or talks you may or may not have, just start what should be an exciting and happy time off on the wrong foot, it puts you in a controlling and judgemental light and no one wants that.
As for the sneezing incident, I’m sorry, but that was bad form. I get that no one likes having a kid sneeze food all over the place, but you can tell them a thousand times to cover their mouths, hell, they’ll probably even do it more often than they don’t, but the one time they forget, is the one time everyone it watching…and that’s hard. Did you deserve to get hollered at over it, probably not…but no one needed the commentary either.
Post # 11
We see a bit of this with my FI’s parents and their first grandchild. We went on a trip with my FPIL and FI’s nephew. There were several times where FI and I looked at eachother and buttoned our lips. FPIL are wonderful, but there were times on the trip where they just did things that they would have never done with their own kids (and they know it) that was spoiling the kid, or down right dangerous (this was corrected by FFIL)
We don’t say anything about how they treat SIL’s kid. This is not our place, and not our battle. It’s not yours either. Do not pick this fight, you will never win. Also, kids at four are getting used to the way their bodies work. Not covering their mouth when they sneeze needs to be reinforced, but it’s not your place to do it.
For our kids, we are going to limit the time that they spend with their grandparents without us there. Most of the issues we have seen with his parents are when the SIL and BIL are not around to correct the issue. If they are around to enforce their parenting, the issue does not exist. While every once in a while FMIL does the “But, why can’t nephew X,” but backs off once the parents establish boundaries.
Post # 12
I think it was a jerk thing to mutter something under your breath. So I don’t know that “really?!” would have been my response but I sure would have said something to you about it. I also don’t like the “he doesn’t know any better” response. As the kids mom I would have said “im so sorry!” and then reminded LO to cover his mouth when he sneezes. I don’t think any of you handled that the right way.
I think you need to wait until you actually have a child and see how they do before you have any kind of talk with them. It seems a bit early to be setting boundaries with a child you don’t even have yet.
Post # 13
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
I also wanted to add to my earlier response that one method we have used with the success is the “leave it” rule. Grammy and Poppy can buy DS anything his heart desires, but it must be left at their house. You want to buy him a new DS 3D? Knock yourself out. But it stays at your house and he can only use it when he is there. I cannot control what they spend their money on, but I can control what items enter my home.
Post # 14
I would just like to add that not all kids who are spoiled become rotten. My grandmother spoiled us growing up, but my parents always taught us to be grateful for all gifts, and to understand that she went above and beyond and we never took it for granted or played favorites when others didn’t do the same. I think a grandparent’s job is to spoil the kids, it’s great to see how excited they are and how much they love their grandkids. In the end, you can teach your children manners and to be gracious for things they may be given regardless of what their grandparents do. If a child becomes spoiled, he was taught to behave that way.
Post # 15
This is something I am worried about as well. I am six weeks pregnant but the only person who knows is my mom, so far. My dad and his wife have a lot of money and I KNOW they will give us way too much stuff. If we have a girl my MIL will go nuts, I know it, since my husband is her only child and she LOVES buying me girly stuff. We don;t have a big house with room for tons of toys, plus we just don’t want a ton of stuff cluttering up our house! We have pretty much already decided to not find out the sex on the baby with hopes of keeping the gifts down before the baby is even born! I’m sure once we actually have a baby/kid we’ll have to address it but I’ll cross that bridge when we come to it!
Post # 16
@GooteyBootey: Assuming your DH’s parents would automatically start spoiling the (unborn) grandkid, you can limit it to a degree. Having them leave the goodies at their house is a good idea, or consider storing excess gifts elsewhere (out of sight) to be doled out for good behavior rewards. If the kid gets too many things, you could set up a policy early on to have the kid choose half (or more/less) of the presents to be donated to a charity, in the spirit of generosity. If the grandparents don’t like it, they can simply decrease the number of gifts given. You DO have some control over the hypothetical situation.